How to screen organic beauty products in your store

Many of your customers may already be aware of greenwashing in their kitchen—cleaners marketed as eco-friendly yet contain ingredients that may be harmful to them or the environment. But it's also a major problem in the bathroom.  

According to an EcoFocus Worldwide study, 48 percent of consumers find it important to choose green toiletries, and 33 percent find it important to choose green cosmetics. The study also showed that 85 percent of consumers are “consumers who care” – shoppers who consider the environmental impact of products prior to purchasing.

With more consumers today looking for safer personal care products, the organic personal care sector is one of the largest growth areas in the industry, expecting to reach $11 billion in global sales by 2016. With so many companies making claims that their personal care products are more eco-friendly, it’s important to understand how to differentiate between these claims and avoid greenwashing as you’re stocking your health and beauty department.  

Don’t let packaging mislead you 

Although it’s important to read labels, don’t be swayed by packaging. Because manufacturers know that consumers are looking for more environmentally products, many choose to package their products in recycled materials, green-colored packaging or they may even include environmentally friendly-looking images on the product label. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is healthier or safer than other brands.

Look behind label claims

It’s not uncommon for shoppers to see claims that a personal care product contains green, natural or nontoxic ingredients. While these claims may sound good on the surface, in reality there are no government standards that currently define what these terms truly mean when used on the labels of these products.

“Free of” claims

Claiming that a product is free of a particular ingredient is another common way that manufacturers advertise or try to differentiate their products from competitors. While claims that a product is free from certain ingredients can be very important to individuals who have allergies, it’s important to read the full label to make sure that this type of claim isn’t an attempt to draw attention away from the presence of other ingredients or processes used in the production of the product.